We had Katie take some pictures of our little family on Friday night before Ryan and I went out to dinner. Somehow when you have a baby the documentation shifts to them and only them and you can’t remember taking pictures of just the two of you. Rest assured, we did take one of just the two of us. And then the three of us. And the four of us as well (Toby, of course).
It always strikes me when I look at pictures how put together we can all look and be and seem. And while I feel like God is teaching me a lot this season about being “in process”, sometimes pictures make us look complete. That is how I feel when I look at other people’s lives from the outside. And maybe how sometimes other people look at mine.
I like this picture so much better because it truly depicts how life honestly is. Happy, but sometimes a bit blurry and not-centered or all focusing on different things rather than going in the same direction.
I just started going to a women’s group on Tuesday morning that is rich with conversation and good coffee and new friends. All things I love. We discussed “a covenant” for our group this morning that included affirming that it would be a space where we could be where we are. Where no judgments will be passed for sharing honestly and where even processing out loud is accepted. My prayer is that I engage in that and allow that promise to flow into other areas of my life. Isn’t that we all want after all? To be part of something where we can just show up and be where we are at. No pretenses, no need to clear the lens, just freedom to be real.
I think that so many times in my life that is when God has shown up the most clearly. When I am not quite sure what I am supposed to be doing or how, He seems to take the lens and refocus it on Himself. The moments that really count will probably never show up in a frame on my mantle or printed in photo books for years to come but I am starting to realize that those are the snapshots that matter most.Read More
I can’t believe I have already been your momma for a whole month already. I told your dad when you were only a few days old that having you made my world a whole lot bigger and a whole lot smaller at the same time. The bigger part is that you opened up such a deep love in me and caused extreme gratitude toward the fact that you are healthy. The smaller being the awareness that if I just have you and Dad in my corner, all is well in my world.
Right now my favorite thing about you is seeing your little face in the morning. I can’t get over how happy I am to see you each day and who could blame me with a face like this:
We are starting to find our own groove, you and I. There have been lots of people who still want to meet you and your momma is happy to share you but I am looking forward to some more time by ourselves during the days. We will fill them with listening to music, making crafts and talking to our good friends on the couch and at parks. You have already noticed that I am a busy bee and having you reminds me of my need to be still in order to do one thing well. Right now that one thing is you.
I confess that I struggled with that in your first two weeks especially, wanting to be an “efficient” mother in some moments rather than what you might need. I’m not beating myself up about it and I don’t think there was anything that I did wrong but I think I missed a few moments while to keep everything in order. Let’s make this next month more about getting to know each other like we have done in the past two weeks, ok?
My favorite night that you and I have shared so far was last Sunday when it was just the two of us. We sat on the big green chair and I read to you from one of my favorite books, Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist. We went to hear her speak when you were just weeks old in my belly. I love knowing that I am already sharing with you things that matter so much to me like good books. I will continue to do so and promise to include a variety of literature, including important pieces like “Go Dog Go“. *Also, please forgive me for your fashion statement while we read. I couldn’t find any of your little mittens and the Detroit Tigers socks seemed to suit you just fine.
We have also had some pretty sweet times already as a little family including celebrating your Dad yesterday on his first Father’s Day. He said you picked the places we were going in Grand Rapids but your taste is eerily close to his already. hmm.. Either way, he deserves the best and we loved being out with him, didn’t we? He just can’t get enough of you as evidenced by all the little moments you two share:
Time has truly flown by since meeting you four short weeks ago. It is hard for me to wrap my hands and heart around the fact that at this time a month ago I didn’t know if you were going to be a boy or a girl. That was the best surprise of my life and I think in my heart I secretly wanted you to be a girl. You are a true blessing Hannah and the meaning of your name sums it up that “God has favored me”. I can’t wait for another month with you. Love, Mom
I have always always always loved my birthday and have thought it important to celebrate for pretty much the entire month of June. No lie, Ryan calls it “birthday month.” I think it is because we both know that for the rest of the year I get so much joy out of sending cards and buying gifts for others that when it comes my turn, I really enjoy every minute. Having Hannah so close to my birthday was a present in itself and although this birthday was much different than those before, it was ever so sweet. As I lined up my birthday cards next to hers, I realized how fun it will be to have May and June as “birthday months” from here on out.
I have to say, the most notable change in becoming a mom is the shift in your time, even on a special day. Past birthdays no doubt included a morning run, coffee with friends, a lunch date, and dinner on the town. This year, the big 28 looked more like a 6:30am wake up call, but at least I’m still running…except now for a cup of coffee. There was a bath for Hannah before 8 a.m. and some quiet moments as a family that I will cherish for a long time. Ryan took the day off to spoil his girls and planned some really fun surprises for all of us together including lunch in Saugatuck and dinner & frozen yogurt at my new favorite little cafe downtown Holland, the City. Yum. I may or may not have included more toppings than yogurt in the “make your own” creation bar that they have. Evidence is below. Clearly Ryan does not understand my theory on yogurt:
We also took in the street performers downtown including everything from trapeze artists to ten year old boys playing their keyboards on the sidewalk. I loved it all; the creativity, the noise and people being brave enough to express themselves. However, best of all was being out on the town with these two:
As much as life looks different for this year and every year to come, there is so much about it that is exactly the same. I’m the same me, with the same heart to connect in relationship with others and to express myself through writing. Yet I am not the same. I now have a little life to nurture, to teach and to lead with Ryan. It’s like taking myself and adding a whole new dimension and in some moments, I want to have it all figured out. I want to put a bow on it and be pleased with the balance of things. In the same token, I know that what feels unknown and blurred together is the beauty of a new life and surrendering pieces of myself that I have controlled for far too long.
I’m trying to figure out how to mesh the 28 years I have lived before Hannah with the less than 28 days I have had with her so far. When I put it that way, I want to give myself a bit more grace to let it balance out. That will be my birthday present to myself this year: grace to learn how to be a mom in a way that honors God. Grace to pray about what to engage in and what to let pass me by. The next 365 days will be committed to taking it moment by moment, making decisions based on wisdom and allowing myself to be surprised by outcomes. The past few years have prepared us for this time and I am trusting that it will serve us well. Here is to birthday cakes and giving the gift of grace.
PS. my favorite moment of the day: